Passing through this doorway you enter a vestibule formed by the base of the Cathedral’s bell tower. This 185-foot tower, surmounted by a gold-leafed cross, was added during the Cathedral reconstruction in 1946. However, the dream of adding live bells to the tower did not become a reality until 1988. Thanks to the generous support of parishioners and friends of the Cathedral, the bells rang out for the first time at the Christmas Eve Mass that year.
In the ancient tradition of the Catholic Church, the six bells were named. The largest bell, 3,300 pounds, was named after the first naturalized American citizen to be named a saint, Frances Xavier Cabrini. The second Bell, 2,000 pounds, was named after the first American born saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton. The third bell, 1,200 pounds, was named St. John Nepomucene Neumann. The fourth Bell, 850 pounds, was named St. Kateri Tekakwitha. The fifth bell, 525 pounds, was named Blessed Katherine Drexel. The sixth bell, 375 pounds, was named Blessed Junipero Serra. All of these saints and blesseds are a part of American History.